Okay I'll admit it, I am a 9 year old boy trapped in a 46 year old man's body! The reason, well it all started when I read an ad in a Magazine called Airliner World at my local book store a couple years back. The ad was tucked away almost on the last page and featured, what I thought, were real airplanes. On closer inspection I soon discovered these were models. I couldn't believe how life-like these tiny diecast models were and I also couldn't believe how much I wanted one. I wondered where I could get one and it made me feel young again. I grew up in Calgary, Alberta, Canada...not exactly a plane-spotters Mecca, but to a young airplane-crazy kid it was Chicago's O'Hare Airport! I would watch the 'bees' flying back to their hive from my backyard for hours and hours on summer afternoons. Thus began my plan to make excursions to the airport which was, in reality, a couple miles away from my house. I would need a lunch, a log book and some sosphisticated plane-spotting equipment. Dad's binoculars & Kodak Brownie camera would have to suffice. I would have to record registration #'s, type of airplane and which airline it was along with other details which I hadn't thought up just yet. I would have to be diligent and precise about this information gathering. Almost like a Statistician at a baseball game I thought to myself. My summers were filled with days of dreaming of landing those airplanes or just being in one and rocketing off to some exotic destination like Monte Carlo, Singapore, London, New York, Paris or the South Pacific. Even Boise, Idaho would have been okay! At the time I thought I was the only one who was interested in going to the airport and watching the planes land and take off. Every time I was in Dad's car and we'd drive by the airport I would try to memorize the route there and I would make a mental map of things around the airport like the little parking area with the patch of grass next to it off of McKnight Boulevard which would be my 'spot'. I guess there was a part of me that felt a little weird because most of my friends were building forts, playing baseball and swimming at some outdoor pool that sold 25 cent hot dogs. Not me, I just wanted to see a Hughes Airwest DC-9 land that day. The others watching were there to see their friends and relatives arrive. To me, they were there for the wrong reasons! Couldn't they see the beauty of these metallic birds floating in like Canada Geese land on water? Me, I was there for the right reasons and I guarded it like a well-kept secret. The obsession had taken hold and wasn't about to let go. But how did I know what airlines were arriving or departing that day? Of course this was WAY before the internet came along so finding out who was coming in that day involved something else called a telephone. How primitive. I would phone the arrivals and departures line and make my itenerary accordingly. Mom would pack my favorites like baloney and mustard on white bread (What a heathen I was!) and she would never dissapoint me by piling on an extra slab of processed luncheon meat and spreading the mustard on so that every part of that 'stuff' was covered. Sometimes it was the good ol' PB & J, but for me I liked the surprise when I would open the bag up at the end of Runway 16-34. How could my life be any better I would think to myself? Whatever I would ask for she would make and I was thrilled because this was my own mini-vacation I was embarking on. After all, I was planning to be away for at least 4 or 5 hours and I had a lot of important business to take care of at Calgary International Airport! It was all done with military precision. The world was mine to explore and this was my first real independant act involving exploring the world outside my small neighborhood. And it was all accomplished without the help of parents or siblings, except for the sandwiches, that is! I was a KING! Those passengers had no idea what I was doing there every day. Did they even care or notice me I wondered? 99% of them probably never even bothered looking out of their tiny windows on approach. They were too preoccupied with gathering their baggage, coats and belongings, thinking about being reunited with their loved ones or making their next connection. They couldn`t care less about me waving at them. If they would have looked, they would have seen a pale, thin, red-haired freckled-face boy wearing a t-shirt worn too many days in-a-row and the most faded and grassed-stained jeans. My documentation of every aircraft arriving or departing was carried out in a manner that only a Certified Professional Accountant would understand. Carefully detailed columns and rows of numbers and words and arrival/departure times, type of the airplane and weather facts, which airline, was it a good or bad landing or takeoff etc...It was a cryptic language that only a gangly, quiet, shy kid could understand. I had a system and I recorded everything. In the summer of 1973, it was the best system for recording airport events in the entire world or so at least I thought. Flash forward to the winter of 2007 and a man standing at a bookstore, reading a magazine that seemed to be published just for me and my insane addiction with civil aviation. Who else on earth would buy or even look at this magazine I thought? A man who had dreamt his whole life of becoming a pilot and never realizing that dream, that's who! I now realize that collecting these tiny diecast models in their truly amazing detail is going to be the closest I'll ever get to this fantasy of becoming connected to the aviation business. I was in my glory. I had to start collecting these models and living vicariously through this hobby! It was my calling. I was hooked.